- Airside and landside improvements. In this case, since parallel taxiways didn't already exist, an additional taxiway was necessary on the civilian side of the runway. New parking aprons, hangars, fuel farms, and maintenance facilities were also necessary. At Robert Gray, the existing Taxiway B was extended to the south approximately 6,000 linear feet. Different standards for runway/taxiway separation between FAA and the military - with the military locating taxiways farther away from the runway - posed a challenge during design. The military standard was difficult and costly to adopt at Robert Gray, since a sizable hill stood where the taxiway would go. The project team worked closely with Fort Hood, the Army, and the Corps of Engineers on this, and eventually all agreed to the more cost-effective FAA standard.
In addition, a 45,000-square yard aircraft parking apron was constructed along with three above ground fuel tanks, a general aviation facility, an airport maintenance building, and rental car facilities.
- Access and transportation. Passengers need a way to get to the airport without going through the base. New roadways would need to be constructed or existing ones expanded. The city worked with TxDOT to upgrade existing Clear Creek Road and Reese Creek Road from a two-lane divided rural roadway to a four-lane divided urban highway. Additional right-of-way was obtained at the main entrance of the airport to allow for a grade-separated intersection in the future.
Redesigning for security
New terminals have one advantage over existing facilities: They can incorporate security from the ground up. Terminal design for Killeen was some 90 percent complete on 9/11. The design was put on hold and every element of the terminal was reconsidered and many features redesigned. Discussions were held with FAA and the newly formed Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on new guidelines, many of which were still under discussion. Building security and building structural integrity would dominate the discussion.
To determine how structurally sturdy a terminal building needs to be, architects and engineers can turn to blast analysis experts who create and test 3-D computer models based on varying parameters. Killeen sought blast analysis to look at the existing building design structure and exterior. As a result, the entire frame was strengthened and exterior materials reinforced.
Terminal building windows also received special consideration. Window frames were strengthened and alternative window materials were used in the final design. Every window is different based on the load to which it is exposed.
Blast analysis also can help determine the proper distance between public parking areas and the terminal, working to achieve the right balance between safety and passenger convenience. Killeen was able to mitigate the 300-foot rule by performing numerous blast analysis tests. The ultimate structural redesign of the building allowed the city to locate the parking area so that an elevated terror threat would not impact public parking.
For baggage screening, new terminals have the advantage of a space that is specifically designed for in-line systems. Killeen's terminal includes baggage handling conveyors that circulate bags from ticket counters to a common explosives detection machine and then to a bag claim carousel, where individual airlines claim the luggage to be carried on their flights.
For space to accommodate TSA's needs, Killeen consulted with the security staff at Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport, U.S. Customs, and researched what other countries such as Israel provide. The result was an additional 10,000 feet of interior space, with three holding cells, a containment room, an armory, kennels for bomb-sniffing dogs, a conference/break room, and office space.
Economic impact of joint-use
Key to the success of any joint-use project is early coordination with all of the players involved. A sense of cooperation can go a long way toward clearing hurdles.
The Killeen-Fort Hood Regional Airport opened in August 2004. In addition to offering commercial air service to the region, the airport will provide significant economic benefits. The estimated annual economic impact of the regional airport includes 824 permanent jobs, $48 million in increased gross product, $30 million in increased personal income, and $30 million in increased retail sales.
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